Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Cramps

  • Songs the Lord Taught Us [Illegal, 1980] B-
  • Psychedelic Jungle [I.R.S., 1981] B
  • Bad Music for Bad People [I.R.S., 1984] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Songs the Lord Taught Us [Illegal, 1980]
From the time they stormed a jaded--hence novelty-hungry--CBGB two or three years ago, they've been a joke that wears thin before it's over. "TV Set" and "Garbage Man" and a couple of others are everything they're supposed to be--archetypally rockin', outrageously funny. But when the songs are neither or even only one, the band's inability to sing, play, produce, or prance around your living room detracts significantly from your pleasure. Then you stop listening altogether. B-

Psychedelic Jungle [I.R.S., 1981]
After setting the mood with two obscure sureshots from the Pebbles anthology (why wasn't "Green Fuz" a hit?), En Why's own mock rockabillies come up with an actual novelty album instead of a theoretical one. If only there weren't these jokes about rape, voodoo, and jungle folk (at least they're not called "bunnies," although they do "hop"), I might still be chuckling. B

Bad Music for Bad People [I.R.S., 1984]
One hears loose talk of minimalism from their demented admirers, but except for a few realists, which these artistes ain't, cartoonists are minimalists by definition. So how do they draw? Crudely, but with an undeniable flair. And are they good for a few laughs? Boiled down to greatest jokes they are. My favorite is "She Said"'s slavering geezer. B+

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]